It’s the final, you guys. THE FINAL. In celebration of there being no new show on Saturday night, I decided to wait until Christmas Eve to write my bit of the blog. Either that or I have spent the last several days getting quietly tipsy on Bailey’s every night. Or both. (It might be both.)
In this week’s credits report, I am appreciative that they have moved all the finalists to the end, though resentful that Mark is last (though of course this turns out to be prescient[/pre-ordained/OBVIOUS]). Also, here is a bonus final week screencap of how mental Joanne From Grimsby looks during the credits. I think she might want me dead.
There is a fairly pointless pro dance, leading to the finalists slightly pointlessly but festively emerging from a giant glitter ball. As a special treat for the final, Tess and Claudia don’t have to walk down the stairs so they are allowed to arrive unaccompanied and unsupported.
The judges do a final terrible dance on. I am enormously irritated by Iveta and Natalie having to demean themselves by flirting all over Len. Ditto Trent and Tristan with Darcy, if I’m honest.
OH NO SIMON IS IN HIS CHARLESTON OUTFIT DAMN IT ALL TO HELL.
We learn Take That will be performing. I learn, via this learning, that Take That still exists, though I will further learn later on that there are only three of them and they now dance like The Four Tops. Except there are only three of them. The Three Tops.
ON WITH THE SHOW!
Frankie and Kevin are first up with their samba. Bit disappointed to get this again rather than the Halloween week Tango, but I suppose if the idea here is room for improvement (AHEM SIMON) then I’m fine with it. Though I am not fine with a reminder of Kevin’s abominable red trousers and Christmas In Brazil jumper. There is much crapping on in the VT about pressure, the terrible pressure of three dances. Important, I think, to remind everyone at this point that the finalists performed four dances in each of series 5, 7, 8, and 9. But yes. The pressure. Anyway, Samba Redux is much better than Samba Original Flavour. I don’t much like the samba rolls, but Frankie’s posture is great, her legs are sharp with good extensions, and it is all very confident and exuberant. I do not like Kevin’s hat. I have also written in my notes that Kevin’s new haircut is better because it is only a semi-Jordan, but that takes us to a bad place, so let’s move on.
(Hannah has already reported on Mark and Karen so I shall limit myself solely to this comment at this stage: WHAT THE HELL IS MARK WRIGHT DOING IN THE FINAL?)
(Tess’s hair this week is a terrible mistake, incidentally. I’m not even 100% sure she can see the autocue. The Stockport Joke Murderer ad libbing is not something we want to encourage.)
(I was disappointed, by the way, that all the judges’ choices were Latin, or rather non-Ballroom, as were the Couples’ choices. I suspect this reflects the general boringness and not particularly well-danced nature of this year’s Ballroom offerings, but I can’t help thinking it’s a shame.)
On to Simon and Kristina. Unlike every other couple, Simon is not given a dance in which he needs to improve, he is given the Charleston, which even the judges can’t stop banging on about as having been his breakthrough dance. Hmmm. Not sure how I feel about that lack of consistency of approach. Hang on a sec, this is Strictly, WHAT THE HELL AM I TALKING ABOUT? Anyway, I think this is much the same as the first time around – fast and furious, too much gurning for my taste, slightly sloppy lifts, runs out of steam a bit around 70% of the way through, Simon loses his timing a touch, generally fun but not sure I needed to see it again. JOURNEY THOUGH. This scores “a Len from ten.” Careful with that, Len, or one day you might accidentally walnut your pickles.
(Gregg Wallace is at this point chewing gum up on Claudia’s balcony. Somebody get that man a pudding.)
(THANK GOD I DON’T HAVE TO WRITE ABOUT MARK AND KAREN’S SHOWDANCE.)
Back to Frankie and Kevin, who belatedly indulge my need for a bit of Ballroom with Get Happy, Quickstep-style. This is glorious and beautiful. Kevin has sensible hair, Frankie looks gorgeous. They glide around, Frankie’s posture is wonderful (a theme for me this week), she finishes all her lines perfectly and the whole thing is wonderfully elegant and stylish. And then they get up on some benches and galumph around pointlessly which ruins everything for a while (OH KEVIN), but while they are on the ground it’s amazing and they are perfectly in sync. Nearly perfect. Craig agrees with me about the benches. QUITE RIGHT CRAIG.
(At one point during this judging stint, Len busts out a pun which Tim Wonnacott and Anton applaud from the balcony. Seems about right.)
Simon and Kristina throw everything but the kitchen sink at their Elvis showdance, and I cannot fault them for effort. The lifts are great, the salsa arms are great, I like the concept of the whole thing, but their Quickstep section is terrible, and the whole thing was a bit busy and messy for my taste – a little less fuss would have made the whole thing cleaner, but since when did anyone decide to put just a bit less in a showdance? At least they didn’t run up to the balcony and clap (OH KAREN). The judges overpraise and overscore, so anxious are they to keep Simon over Mark, which I am not going to argue with. JOURNEY THOUGH.
At this point, we take a little break, following which Mark and Karen are gently euthanased, and we move on to some more repeats.
Frankie and Kevin give us their paso again, and I will admit to being delighted to see this one more time. Frankie’s posture (THERE GOES THAT POSTURE KLAXON AGAIN) is wonderful, with really dramatic back arches that shape the whole dance in a way she could not manage the first time they did it. It is full of character, and sharp, clean movement. Plus, NOW WITH 75% MORE ATTITUDE AND SKIRT-SWISHING!!! Anyway, I loved it, and Craig did not give it a 10 and I thought that was mean.
Simon and Kristina are, thank the Lord, dancing their magnificent Argentine Tango again. I loved it the first time and I loved it even more here – it’s sharper, more intense and way more character-driven this time around. I am not sure I needed Simon’s primal roar while holding Kristina upside down at the end, but this was tremendous, and it might have been my favourite dance of the night. Good to see someone get 40 other than Caroline. Also JOURNEY.
And so, we reach the end of OUR journey. Caroline and Pasha are the winners, which I am in favour of, and I expect Pasha to get a very old lady partner next year because frankly it’s about time, but I love him and I am glad he won.
Here are a few end of series bonuses for you.
Firstly, Trent’s face when Caroline’s Charleston got 40 (with bonus Weird Brendan):
Secondly, a Spot the Difference competition between Caroline’s cha-cha dress and Dougal from the Magic Roundabout:
And finally, a KateTF Independently-Designed Unofficial Strictly Final Pie-Chart of Cliché Usage:
Merry Christmas, you guys!